Who are the four new TDs entering the Dáil today?

Fresh faces follow four byelections last week

Four new TDs take their seats in the Dáil on Tuesday.

Four new TDs take their seats in the Dáil on Tuesday.

 

Four new TDs will enter the fold at Leinster House on Tuesday. They were elected during byelections last week.

But who are they?

Pádraig O’Sullivan at the Cork North Central byelection count centre. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision
Pádraig O’Sullivan at the Cork North Central byelection count centre. Photograph: Daragh Mc Sweeney/Provision

Cork North Central: Pádraig O’Sullivan (Fianna Fáil)

Newly-elected Cork North Central Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O’Sullivan has taken a somewhat unpredictable path to Dáil Éireann.

A native of Little Island in east Cork but resident in Glanmire, the 35-year-old first ran as an Independent under the New Vision banner in Cork North Central in 2011. His first foray into electoral politics, it proved a less than auspicious beginning, with O’Sullivan winning just 1,020 votes or 1.96 per cent of the poll.

However, his political career took off on an upward trajectory since he joined Fianna Fáil in July 2012.

Elected to Cork County Council for the Cobh Electoral Area in 2014 with 2,628 votes (14.72 per cent), he comfortably held his seat in the revised Cobh Electoral Area in 2019. He polled 2,608, with his vote share rising to 21.84 per cent.

That performance saw Fianna Fáil’s national executive add him to the ticket to run alongside sitting TD Kevin O’Keeffe in Cork East in the next general election.

Opportunity arose when Billy Kelleher’s election as an MEP created a vacancy in Cork North Central.

He successfully contested the Cork North Central selection convention in August, seeing off the challenge of sitting city councillors Tony Fitzgerald and Ken O’Flynn, and with the Fianna Fáil machine behind him he won the byelection.

A teacher at Coláiste Chraoibhín in Fermoy, where he teaches Irish and history, Mr O’Sullivan is married to Bernie, and the couple have a nine-month-old son Paidí Og. - Barry Roche

Dublin Fingal TD Joe O’Brien of the Green Party. Photograph: Alan Betson
Dublin Fingal TD Joe O’Brien of the Green Party. Photograph: Alan Betson

Dublin Fingal: Joe O’Brien (Green Party)

Calm, reserved, hardworking, very thorough and “not a man to pick up a megaphone” to deal with a challenge is how a colleague describes newly elected Green Party TD for Dublin Fingal Joe O’Brien.

It is the second victory in a year for the 42-year-old Skerries-based politician. He was elected to Fingal County Council in the May local elections on his second attempt and his Dáil byelection win also comes on a second attempt after a run in the 2016 general election.

The Dublin Fingal win offers a northside balance in the Dáil for the Green Party, whose leader Eamon Ryan and deputy leader Catherine Martin are both southsiders.

Married with three children, aged two, seven and nine, Mr O’Brien is originally from rural Grenagh, halfway between Mallow and Cork city.

He attended Rathduff primary school and North Monastery Secondary School in Cork, where he was a contemporary of hurling hero Seán Óg Ó hAilpín.

A UCC graduate of French and economics, he worked for the Youthreach programme for early schoolleavers, including Travellers and immigrants, before moving to Dublin to study for a master’s degree and work as an advocate for inclusion and migrant rights.

Employed by the Immigrant Council of Ireland for the last three years, he previously worked for more than a decade at Crosscare, the social care agency of the Dublin Catholic archdiocese and one of the biggest providers of services to the homeless in Dublin city. He also worked for the Depaul Trust.

He was previously connected with the Dáil through his work with Crosscare, where he initiated a mentoring programme for migrant students to do internship placements with TDs. - Marie O’Halloran

Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward canvasses in Clondalkin before the Dublin Mid West byelection. Photograph: Fiach Kelly
Sinn Féin TD Mark Ward canvasses in Clondalkin before the Dublin Mid West byelection. Photograph: Fiach Kelly

Dublin Mid West: Mark Ward (Sinn Féin)

Sinn Féin’s newest TD Cllr Mark Ward has twice followed in the footsteps of his party and Dublin Mid West constituency colleague Eoin Ó Broin.

The North Clondalkin native was co-opted to South Dublin County Council to succeed Mr Ó Broin when he was elected to the Dáil in the 2016 general election.

Cllr Ward held onto the seat in this year’s local elections and now joins Mr Ó Broin, his director of elections, to become the second Sinn Féin TD in Dublin Mid-West.

He has also become the party’s talisman for what it hopes will be a resurgence in Dublin particularly, but nationally as well after poor presidential, European and local elections.

A behavioural therapist, he assists people who have suffered trauma in their lives. The 44-year-old is a separated father of three children aged 19, 13 and 11.

He also mentors two GAA teams at Round Tower club.

A self-described “huge Dubs fan” he has a tattoo to prove it and says that one of his proudest moments when he was mayor of South Dublin council was to present a community endeavour award to Dublin manager Jim Gavin who announced on Saturday that he was stepping down.

Outgoing and very popular in the North Clondalkin area, he is well known for campaigning for better services for a poorly served pre-dominantly working class community.

He sees his win as a rejection of “austerity politics, of hospital waiting lists, housing waiting lists and people being put to the pin of their collar with high rents and stuck in gridlock on poor transport”. - Marie O’Halloran

Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne is held aloft by supporters following his victory in the Wexford byelection. Photograph: Patrick Browne
Fianna Fáil’s Malcolm Byrne is held aloft by supporters following his victory in the Wexford byelection. Photograph: Patrick Browne

Wexford: Malcolm Byrne (Fianna Fáil)

Newly elected Wexford TD Malcolm Byrne first contested and won an election for Fianna Fáil when he ran for the old Gorey town council.

Elected a county councillor in 2009, he was mayor from 2014 to 2015. A native of Gorey, where he attended school at Loreto and Christian Brothers, he studied law at UCD where he got involved in student politics.

Now aged 45, he was elected education officer for both UCD and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) before beginning an eclectic career that started with Chambers of Commerce Ireland.

He then became the first commercial manager with myhome.ie before going on to serve a stint as chief executive of the Community Games.

After that he became executive director of Screen Producers Ireland, before moving to his current position as head of communications with the Higher Education Authority in Dublin, where he has worked for the past 12 years, commuting from Gorey.

He will seek leave of absence from the authority because a general election is expected within the next six months.

As a gay man he says he has faced much social media abuse, not just about his sexuality but on other issues too. “I’m used to getting abuse online so it doesn’t bother me anymore.”

He spoke out against racism and hate speech after his Dáil win, and believes that politics is a “noble” profession. “We can disagree about ideas, but we should do it in a respectful way.”

Deeply involved in drama, musicals and theatre in Co Wexford, he also completed his 30th marathon in Dublin this year. He is known for travel to unusual places, including most recently North Korea and Greenland. - Marie O’Halloran